Kevin Murphy?is a hair stylist for celebrity clients like Heidi Klum. He?s coiffed models for the cover ofVogue, and his line of eco-friendly hair care products even earned a spot on PETA?s ?cruelty-free? list. These impressive credentials turn heads on Parisian runways, but do absolutely nothing to impress the dour bureaucrats at government regulatory agencies. When Murphy?s company wanted to expand internationally, they had to figure out a way to cram line after line of fine print, all translated into multiple languages, on tiny travel bottles?without sacrificing their trademark style.
Many designers would be pulling their hair out in the face of such strict requirements, but Murphy?s design agency,ContainerMade, found a clever solution inspired by baseball cards and Cracker Jack prizes. The new 3.4 ounce bottles feature?lenticular?labels, a World War II era technology often used to create simple animations on inexpensive gewgaws. By slightly changing the bottle?s position, regulators will be able to see all of the disclaimers and ingredient lists their laws require while the?au courant?customers will simply see a dynamic design.
?Multiple languages and regulations mean a good deal of copy, symbols and codes need to be displayed. Unfortunately a smaller package doesn?t reduce these requirements,? says Brennan Liston, cofounder of ContainerMade. Off the rack solutions like adding a foldout panel to the package could have met the legal requirements at a slightly lower cost, but would have transformed the high fashion hair gel into something worthy of a bargain bin. ?Being a travel size product, we needed to keep the cost down,? says Kevin Murphy?s Director of Marketing, Madeleine Hakins. ?Yet didn?t want to skip on style.?
The solution was unexpected and elegant, but required a great deal of experimentation and refinement. Lenticular panels are usually used on throwaway tchotchkes, but the symbols on Murphy?s packaging had to be legible, fonts had to be readable, and the shifting panels couldn?t create confusion, otherwise regulators could prevent the product from going to market, or even worse, order a recall once it was on the shelf. A practiced eye for design and copious amounts of high tolerance testing ensured the slick trick worked perfectly.
The lenticular label isn?t the bottle?s only trick. The rectangular shape creates a large front face maximizing the upstart?s presence on shelf while also allowing them be tightly packed in a travel bag with no wasted space. The diminutive dispensers maintains the broad expanses of color and minimal typography the brand uses as its signature. ?We try to keep the packaging far away from the mainstream hair brands, hopefully producing a visual language that creates curiosity and desire,? says Liston.
Kevin Murphy wants to make his customers look as cool as possible, but occasionally it?s nice to take a look in the mirror. ?It adds a 3-D element to the salon shelf that is usually just filled with 2-D print with no movement,? says Hakins. ?This gives the customer something to turn their head twice to look at.?